Bad Behavior

Going green, or environmentally friendly, is a hot topic for businesses and consumers alike. After all, who doesn’t want to do their part to help make the environment we live in a better place? However, now online scammers are attempting to cash in on the allure to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, introducing a new rogue program that appeals to your eco-friendly side.

Understanding the Threat

While there are many genuine anti-spyware and anti-virus programs to choose from, there is a large and ever-increasing number of rogue security software out there online, trying to trick or scare computer users into purchasing products with little or no value. The aim of rogue anti-malware software vendors is to produce an application that, at face value, appears to be useful in order to get users to buy the software.

The Bad Behavior

This month, we’d like to call your attention to a new rogue that Lavasoft Malware Labs spotted this past month, called Green AV. For a peek at what it looks like, visit the Malware Labs blog.

According to the analyst at Malware Labs, Green AV will give exaggerated threat reports on the compromised computer, then ask the user to purchase a registered version to remove threats which don’t exist – typical qualities of rogue security software.

But, what’s not so typical is the rogue creator’s attempt to get past your defenses by appealing to your eco-friendly side. According to industry reports, Green AV is being pitched as the “World’s First Antivirus That Cares About the Environment.” On a ZDNet.com blog post, cyber threat analyst Dancho Danchev explains that Green AV’s mission statement reads:

“Fighting viruses, spyware, malware is not only a question of security. Spyware actualy abuses your computer, overuses CPU speed, network bandwidth, makes your PC run slow. As a result you start consuming more power, working longer, think of replacing your PC with a new one which brings more unrecyclable wastes (many computer’s parts contain toxic wastes).

This way Green AV actualy cares about the environment. We thought that our application can guard not only your PC, but whole Earth - our home planet. So to show how much we care we desided to send $2 from each product sale on saving green forests in Amazonia.”1

What social engineering tactics will these rogue security software creators think of next? It’s hard to predict. A helpful hint: stay tuned at the Lavasoft Malware Labs Blog where you’ll find regular updates on new rogues as our malware analysts spot them

Winning Strategies

How can you avoid falling for a rogue security program like Green AV? The experts at Lavasoft have some helpful tips, below, to make sure you rely on products with proven track records and reliability.

  • Practice online skepticism. Do not blindly trust individual sites offering anti-spyware. Be aware that rogue security software does exist on the web, and be vigilant about avoiding it. If you are suspicious about a product, check for reviews on trusted websites, magazines or from software outlets. Rogue applications often claim to be “the best on the market” and post deceptive review results on their own site where the product scores rave ratings.
  • Do not fall for scare tactics – get a second opinion. An almost universal trait of rogue anti-malware applications is for the scan result, at first glance, to display plausible results. However, in order to clean the detected items, you must “register” the product; this, in reality, means you must pay for the product. Visit a trusted source like Download.com, download a free anti-malware application, and scan again.
  • Take advantage of our experts on the Lavasoft Support Forums to assist you if you suspect that an application may not be legitimate. If Lavasoft's malware analysts have not encountered the program, they will analyze it and add it to detection if it meets detection criteria.

1 http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=4199

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